How To Build Your 72-Hour Emergency Kit

Disasters can happen any time, anywhere. You and your family can be ready by following these three simple steps:

  • know the risks,
  • make a plan, and
  • get a kit.

You should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least 72 hours following a disaster.

The Canadian Red Cross recommends that you collect the following items in your emergency kit:

  • A sturdy and easy-to-carry bag, like a backpack.
  • Water: two litres of drinking water and two litres of water for washing per person, per day. Don’t forget about your pets!
  • Food: at least a 72-hour supply of non-perishable food for each person. Include food for your pets as necessary.
  • Manual can opener.
  • Crank or battery-operated flashlight, with extra batteries.
  • Crank or battery-operated radio, with extra batteries.
  • Extra keys, for house and car.
  • First aid kit.
  • Cash in small bills.
  • Special needs items (e.g., medications, infant formula).
  • Personal hygiene items (e.g., soap, toothpaste, shampoo, antiperspirant, etc.)
  • Important family documents (e.g., copies of birth and marriage certificates, passports, licences, wills, and insurance policies).
  • Copy of your emergency plan.

This list is not exhaustive; you can build your emergency kit according to your needs. You can also purchase an emergency kit from the Canadian Red Cross or any other supplier, such as Walmart.


  • Place these items in a waterproof container. 
  • Store your emergency kit in an easily accessible place.
  • Check its content annually. Replace batteries and water supplies if necessary.

In the event of an evacuation from your home, at the request of the authorities or on your own initiative, other essential items must be carried:

  • For young children: infant food, hygiene products (e. g. disposable diapers), toys, medicines, etc;
  • For a pet or assistance animal: leash, food, medicines, transport cage, collar with identification plate, etc.;
  • For people with special needs: drugs, medical equipment, specialized equipment or devices.


For more information, consult the document Your Emergency Preparedness Guide prepared by Public Safety Canada. You can also find a wealth of information about emergency situations on the websites of Urgence Québec and Sécurité publique du Québec.


The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice. Aviva and the Aviva logo are trademarks of Aviva plc. and are used under licence by Aviva Canada Inc. and its subsidiary companies.